Yak Throwing

Photo edited by Jessica Ott

Yak Throwing

Yak Throwing 101

First, squat down next to your yak and put your head in between it’s legs. Wrap one arm around the front two legs and the other around the back two legs. Then keeping your core tight, lift from your legs…… Oh…. Wait. Yak as in a kayak, not the animal. Well now that’s a different beast!

Loading and unloading your kayak on top of your vehicle or on a trailer is one of the common ways kayak anglers hurt their back. While it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do it properly it takes a little awareness to have everything go smoothly so you can head out on your favorite body of water. Follow these 3 tips to help you avoid getting injured when throwing your yak around

Get Engaged

No need to find the person of your dreams for this you just have to engage your core!

Your core muscles are your abs, obliques and lower back. When lifting and getting your kayak set to load it’s easy to twist putting a lot of weight on you at weird angles. To avoid this, keep your core engaged. Generally most of us need will be at a weird angle at some point while loading or unloading but you can help stop it from injuring you by keeping your core muscles flexed. Because they are flexed you may realize you can’t twist or bend as far. That’s ok, it’s protecting you!

Knee Me

You’ve heard it since you were a kid, lift with your knees and not your back. I hate to tell you but the advice is still good. When lifting your kayak off the group or putting it back on the group, use your legs. It may seem easier to just bend over and round out your back but you are killing your back and putting it at huge risk. Keeping your core engaged, raise or lower your kayak using your legs and work at keeping your back straight. If you round it out too much when holding weight you can tweak it and cause pain.

Two’s better than one

Having a buddy is great, especially when they are willing to help! If your friend grabs one end of your kayak and you grab the other, it makes it a lot easier to take it off or put it on our car or trailer. Remember that you still want to keep your core engage, use your legs, and not to round out your back.

Bonus tips


When we lift we use our muscles (duh) but when you’re holding onto something you can use your skeletal strength. This means that your arms are straight and your muscles aren’t flexed while holding onto your yak.

Shoulder Shelf

Loading your kayak on top of your vehicle means you have to lift it higher than a trailer. There are a few ways to get it at a good height but one way that I found that works great is set the kayak on its side on the ground. Stand in the center and bend down (using your knees). Have one hand grab the center handle and the other a scupper hole or other side of the yak. Hold the kayak firmly and stand up. As you’re standing up use the momentum and lift the kayak onto your shoulder using your hands to help balance it Then walk it up to your car and place it on the rack. Note that you will want to follow the tips above to do this without causing injury.

Strap me down

Now to get cruising….well, almost cruising. After your kayak is on it’s rack or trailer make sure it’s balanced and doesn’t tilt one way or another. Then strap it down using cam style straps. Be sure it’s tight but not bending the plastic of your kayak. Be sure you add bow and stern straps as well. The last thing you want happening is it flying off your car and having it hurt other people or damaging other vehicles.

Photo edited by Jessica Ott.